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Interpol Alert Issued By Turkey For Exiled Journalists President Erdogan Wants To Toss In Jail

Published: October 24, 2018
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Source: Tech Dirt

Turkey's government has already locked up more than 70 journalists -- most of them in the wake of a failed coup. President Recep Erdogan says the imprisoned journalists are terrorists and criminals, but rather than offer evidence of wrongdoing, Erdogan just keeps throwing more of them in jail.

The notoriously thin-skinned president has been eliminating dissent and criticism since he took power, so there's no reason to give his accusations of criminal activity credence. Erdogan has leaned on favorable laws elsewhere in the world to press for criminal charges and extradition of citizens of other nations who've offended his delicate sensibilities.

As a player on the world stage, Erdogan and his government will use whatever tools they have available to continue to eliminate their critics. It appears Erdogan is now asking the world's police forces to help him track down journalists he hasn't yet jailed. (h/t Mutlu Civiroglu)

Journalism in Turkey has come under renewed scrutiny after an Istanbul court issued an international arrest warrant for two prominent writers living overseas.

In a hearing against journalists linked to the Cumhuriyet newspaper, the 27th High Criminal Court said it would request the issuance of Interpol “red notices” for Can Dundar and Ilhan Tanir. The order notifies all Interpol member states that the individual has pending arrest warrants.

Mr Dundar, the newspaper’s former editor-in-chief, and Mr Tanir, its ex-Washington correspondent, currently live in Germany and the US respectively.

No one's under any obligation to arrest and extradite these "criminals." And certainly no one should feel they have to enforce Turkey's draconian anti-press measures halfway around the world. But it will make travel difficult, as databases will be pinged and info alleging criminal activity will be returned. If they happen to travel to a country that feels compelled to take Turkey's disingenuous government at its word, these journalists find themselves being sent home to face ridiculous charges in a kangaroo court.

Critical speech is its own crime in Turkey, despite what Erdogan says publicly.

“Turkey numbers among the world’s leading countries in matters of press freedom, the most advanced communications technologies, social media, the internet and journalism,” he said on Journalists’ Day in January.

You can only get away with saying something this ridiculous in a country where a large majority of news services are under direct government control and internet blockades are only a kill-switch away. When most of your journalists are in jail or have left the country, you're not in the running for Free-est Press in the World awards. You're just a thug in nation-state clothing.

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